Photo: Johnny Miller
Raise your hand if you’ve ever cooked something based on how it’d look on Instagram. Thought so. But as you probably realized, not every recipe turns out quite as pretty as you’d hope. Athena Calderone set out to fix this in her new book Cook Beautiful.
Calderone designed recipes that would look as good as they taste, and peppered her book with tips for visual presentation. One picture-perfect dish from the book? Meyer lemon ricotta toasts with blistered grapes. (Check out these inspirational healthy food porn Instagram accounts.)
This recipe isn’t just pretty, though. Roasted grapes, pine nuts, and balsamic glaze perfectly complement the ricotta. “The crunchy bread, jammy fruit, and creamy cheese are a decadent combination, especially when spiked with Meyer lemon zest and drizzled with saba—a syrupy Italian condiment made by cooking down grapes,” Calderone writes. (Opt for Concord grapes for added heart-healthy polyphenols.) Whether you’re looking to hone your food photography skills or just make a delicious brunch dish, you won’t regret giving this recipe a go.
Meyer Lemon Ricotta Toasts with Blistered Grapes
- 12 oz (340g) seedless red or black grapes)
- 4 sprigs fresh tarragon, divided
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- Salt and fresly cracked pepper
- 1/2 Meyer lemon, zested and juiced
- 1 cup (240ml) fresh ricotta
- 4 slices crusty bread
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
- Saba or syrupy balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C). Spread the grapes across a baking sheet and top them with 2 tarragon sprigs. Drizzle with oil and toss the grapes until evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper. Roast the grapes until they have just started to burst, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool slightly, discard the tarragon, and squeeze the lemon juice evenly over the grapes.
- While the grapes are roasting, use a wire whisk to combine the ricotta and lemon zest.
- Just before you’re ready to serve the crostini, heat up the broiler. Place the bread on a baking sheet and drizzle it lightly with oil on both sides. Broil until golden, 1 to 2 minutes per side depending on the strength of your broiler. Let the toasts cool slightly. Pluck the leaves from the remaining tarragon sprigs. Spread the ricotta mixture over each slice of bread and top with the grapes and pine nuts. Finish with a sprinkle of tarragon and a drizzle of saba.
Excerpted with permission from Cook Beautiful by Athena Calderone, published by ABRAMS ©2017.